Macau boxing preview: Zou Shiming's pro debut, Viloria-Estrada, Martinez-Magdaleno, WV2


Saturday's card in Macau may open a new market for big-time boxing, if a solid card goes over well. Tom Craze takes a look at the fights and the odds.

Most weekends directly following a Rios-Alvarado fight would feel muted in comparison. This Saturday night is no exception, but the big Macau card does at least provide some intrigue, as Top Rank begins the process of establishing how best to milk the Shiming Zou cash cow.

There's a string of more established names booked to prop up what would appear to be the mismatch of a main event, but - from a betting perspective at least - it would appear that lopsidedness is a theme that runs throughout the entire bill. As a result, this week's betting preview is somewhat abridged, but there's at least a few contests of note that are too significant to overlook altogether.

Zou Shiming vs. Eleazar Valenzuela

Double Olympic gold medallist and three-time Zou Shiming is, quite rightly, a pretty big deal in his home country. A professional debutant here, Zou looked every one of his 31 years at London 2012, but was the beneficiary of a number of highly-debatable decisions en route to defending his title.

Valenzuela (2-1-2, 1 KO) is obviously fairly green himself, and has been brought in here for one simple reason: to lose. Which, of course, he will. In his last fight, Valenzuela managed just a draw with that wily old dog Francisco Lopez (1-11, 1 KO), which gives an indication of what kind of calibre opponent we're talking about for Zou here. The hometown man could likely lose this fight clearly and you'd still fancy a Zou win on the cards. He's not going to.

As a betting proposition, if you're thinking of backing Zou, then forget it. He's an incredible 1/200 (-20000) to win - in simpler terms, that's a potential 50 cents profit for every $100 you back him with. Mexico's Valenzuela's a +2500 to pull off a victory. This, clearly, is a watching brief only.

Brian Viloria vs. Juan Francisco Estrada

Unified flyweight titlist Viloria (32-3, 19 KOs) is generally a pretty entertaining watch, and he's a classy kind of operator too. This should be a decent showcase for him, but the Hawaiian has tripped up before. Estrada's here as the second Mexican B-side of the show, and he'll come to fight. The flashy stoppage percentage on his record (22-2, 18 KOs) flatters to deceive, really, and he's lost both times he's taken on any kind of name (Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr and Roman Gonzalez). That defeat against Gonzalez, at light-flyweight in November, doesn't figure to stand him in good stead here.

It's no surprise, then, that Viloria's a heavy favourite here. At a best-priced -600 he's not much of a price, but it's difficult to argue any real case for opposing him. Estrada's the +350 outsider. The over/under here is set at 7.5 (overs -250, under -175). In what's likely to be a solid action fight, those weighing up the under route should note that Estrada's never been stopped. Viloria's on a handy run of stoppage wins, with all of his last three, and four of his last five ending early, but they've come - in a neat ascending numerical order - in rounds 7, 8, 9, and 10 respectively. The notion that this is somehow destined to be waved off in the 11th is clearly not worthy of as much consideration as the fact that Viloria's only had one fight go under that 7.5 line in four years.

Roman Martinez vs Diego Magdaleno

Of all the fights on the card, it's possible that this is the one which provides the most interest for punters. Southpaw Magdaleno (23-0, 9 KOs) is undefeated so far, but coming off a win against a 40-year-old Antonio Davis, he probably should be. Martinez (26-1-2, 16 KOs), of course, is the more seasoned of the two, and certainly has mixed at a higher sort of level.

In this, his second defence of the WBO super featherweight strap he somehow clung onto after a gift draw decision against Juan Carlos Burgos, Martinez is the betting underdog, at a best-priced +220. It's an interesting fight, sure, but at a general 3-to-1 on, does Magdaleno (best-priced -250 in places) deserve such heavy favouritism? We know that Martinez makes for good fights, and this is a reasonable step-up in class for Magdaleno. You'd imagine it's the latter who's the house favourite of the two, but he faces his toughest assignment yet here. That +220 could certainly be worthy of consideration.

Wilfredo Vazquez Jr vs. Yasutaka Ishimoto

This should be an easy out for Vazquez Jr (22-2-1, 19 KOs), who's being slowly brought along again after dropping a split-decision to Nonito Donaire last February. This is, somehow, a first defence of Vazquez's WBO International trinket, but it would appear that the only real qualification Ishimoto (21-6, 5 KOs), who's beat a 6-20-1 fighter and an 11-8 fighter since losing a challenge at the Japanese 122lb title, has is that Japan is, loosely speaking, kind of close to Macau.

Ishimoto hasn't been knocked out in any of those six defeats, but each came about in four (twice), six, eight, and ten-rounders. Vazquez Jr's last seven wins have all come by way of stoppage. All of them fell under the over/under line of 11.5 here, and at -175, with an average of just 6.3 rounds in that seven-fight sample, it's probably a backable price. The over's quoted at +125, with Vazquez Jr just -900 (but as short as -1400 elsewhere) for the outright win. Ishimoto's +600 for what would be a fairly sizeable upset prior to his short flight home.

Follow Tom Craze on Twitter @Box_Bet

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